No team in the majors made the moves the San Diego Padres made in the offseason. So, it’s only fitting that the team looking to make major moves in the National League West this season would meet the team that’s owned the division recently, in the first week of the season. The San Francisco Giants, the team that has won three World Series championships in the last five years, took a little trip to southern California to give the new look Padres their first big test of the season. The upstart Padres passed with flying colors, taking three out of the four games.
The Padres opened the season by dropping two out of three in L.A. against the Dodgers. So, in a lot of ways that series could be looked at as their first test. But, for this team proving just how good they are in front of their home crowd, and it being against the defending champs ups the ante just a little. And what huge crowds came out to support their new team. For the four games, over 160,000 fans packed Petco Park. They got a good glimpse of just how good this team could be. That was just what the doctor ordered,
The highlight of the series had to have been Saturday when James Shields , former pitcher for the defending American League champion Kansas City Royals, outdueled Giants ace Madison Bumgarner . While, the Padres bats went to work on Bumgarner, the 2014 World Series MVP, and the Giants bullpen to a tune of 10 runs on 20 hits, Shields was spectacular pitching seven innings of one run, three hit ball. Shields, also struck out seven.
Shields, wasn’t the only pitcher to have success against the Giants. Padres pitching only yielded seven runs for the entire series. Included in that were seven shutout innings by Brandon Morrow on Friday night. While, the pitching was spectacular, the Padres also received timely hitting from new acquisitions, Matt Kemp, who had four hits on Saturday and one of the shortest triples you’ll ever see on Sunday. It was incredible baserunning by Kemp, who showed his emotion with a big fist pump after he said safely into third, that got the crowd stirred up even more. 37-year-old backup catcher, Will Nieves got the scoring started Sunday with a grand slam to put San Diego on top 4-2. The Padres never looked back and won the game 6-4.
Manager, Bud Black’s team looks like it will be fun to watch, and well balanced. Good starting pitching was staple of last year’s team. The Padres just couldn’t hit. Good hitting with enough power supplied by Kemp and guys like former Brave Justin Upton should have the Padres in contention deep into the season. Last week’s acquisition of Craig Kimbrel, also from the Braves, gives the Padres the best closer in the game over the last couple of years. The NL West should be wild. The Dodgers and Giants aren’t going anywhere. If, this past weekend is any indication, neither are the Padres.
Photo Credit: http://m.utsandiego.com/news/2015/apr/11/shields-outpitches-bumgarner-in-padres-10-2-win/
Thanks for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment, or follow me at https://twitter.com/SportsandSwag,